Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Do as I'm doing...ANZAC Biscuits.

I made ANZAC biscuits, and I really, really liked them.  ANZAC (and I'm going off memory here so everyone, please cut me some slack if I get it a bit wrong) means Australia New Zealand Army Corps.  They were the men and women from Australia who fought in....WWII...again, I hope I am correct.

So, you've got your son or daughter fighting over seas, what's a "mum" (gotta do it when talking about these "biscuits"), to do?  Make them cookies.  But, make sure they are going to survive the long distances and time in transit to get to your loved one, while still tasty.  So those crafty ladies invented a cookie that can go the distance.

Vocabulary Lesson Of the Day:
Biscuit: Cookie.  You might be asking yourself, well, then what do they call actual biscuits?  Nothing.  They don't have them.  They have scones.  If you hail from Utah, not Utah scones either.  Those really should be called Fry Bread.
Golden Syrup:  Syrup.  But, a kind we don't have much here.  It's more complex than corn syrup, but not as gnarly as molasses, think...caramalized sugar.  Very delicious.  I bought mine through Amazon.  But I also found it at my local grocery store.  Look around, you'll have to do some searching, but you can find it.  It is going to cost a grundle though.  Be prepared.
Mum:  Mom.  Mummy (mommy) can also be used.  Not sure about mumu (momma)...I mean, a mumu is a giant dress my mum used to lounge about in the house in the 80's.
Celsius:  0 is actually freezing and 100 is boiling vs. 32 and 212 in Fahrenheit
Grams:  Metric system.  Learn it people.  It's good...except when you have to use one stick of a butter and the bittiest smidge of another stick in order to get to 125 grams.
Bicarb Soda: Baking soda.
Dessicated Coconut: Regular, sweetened coconut
Kiwi:  Somebody from New Zealand

This is Mel from Mellywood's Mansion's, recipe.  Click here for the goodness.

Here's what I learned making these...

170 C. is 338 F.  Well, okay then.  So I used 345 F., I think.  Now because of this, I needed to cook my cookies for a shorter duration than Mel calls for.  She cooks hers for 15 minutes.  I cooked mine for about 12.  They are going to come out of the oven soft and a bit squishy, but that's what you want, as long as they're golden brown, they'll firm up.

Store your golden syrup in the fridge, according to Nat, from Northshore Days, who is a South African/Kiwi hybrid She says if you don't...the ants will get in it.  Gross.

Oh, and once you've added the baking soda to the melted butter/syrup combo, that's when you add the dry ingredients.

My Oldest gives them the thumbs up.

My Youngest also gives likes them...a lot!....and this is what she's doing for smiles these days.  sigh  Did your kids go through a phase where they wouldn't just smile, but grimace, thinking they are smiling.

Me.  Dunking mine in milk...because, well, that's what I do.  So yummy!

Making these cookies is a must.  You are almost guaranteed to have the ingredients on hand, they're quick and easy and so, so good!  Thanks Mel and Nat for introducing me to these Southern Hemisphere delights.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

You better watch it big guy

We have a fierce chicken protector...and it's a good thing because dog and cat want to have chicken snacks....every second of every day.

No dogs and cats better mess with my chickens.

Sitting down on the job.  sigh.  Cross fingers the chickens survive.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Frito Pies....Because sometimes that's how we do things over here.

Now look, I know this isn't exactly what some people would call a recipe.  But, I when I told people this is what I was having for dinner tonight, several of them had no idea what I was talking about...granted two of them are from the Southern Hemisphere....but I can't let this go on another moment!  Frito Pie time!

This is a fun and unique meal to try sometime.  As long as your children are up for fun and unique meals to eat.  Mine...if it isn't something they've eaten before in their lives, they are highly skeptical and reluctant to try it.   But, I got these bags of Fritos from a church social last weekend (they were what were left of the variety pack), and have been holding onto them for the perfect time to make my kids expand their culinary horizons...if you can call it that.

 There are only three ingredients in it...which makes it a winner in my book.

And very little work involved.  Here goes....

Frito Pies

Shred some cheese.
Open individual packets of Fritos, one for every person who is eating that night.
Heat can of chili.   You could be much more gourmet than I was and actually make chili, which would be much tastier than the canned variety.

Pour chili into bag of Fritos, top with cheese and proceed to eat Frito Pie out of bag with a spoon.  You can also top these with a myriad of ingredients.  Anything you'd put on chili would be great!

Here are my children eating their very first Frito Pie.

This is how our conversation went.

My Oldest:  I'd rather drink my smoothie.
Me:  Eat your Frito Pie first.
My Youngest: Are you sure this is actual food?
Me: Yes, now eat!  
My Oldest:  Tastes alright, I guess I can eat this.
My Youngest: Do I really have to have a bite?
Me: Yes, you'll like it, it's got chips and cheese, you like cheese!
My Youngest:  heavy sigh.  Oh, Alright.
Silence...Thinking about the daunting task ahead of her of eating something...different....
 chew, chew, chew, chew...swallow.
My Youngest: How many more bites do I have to have?
Me: heavy sigh.  Two more bites.
My Youngest:  Okay, two more bites.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lemon Lime Dream Bars

lemon lime dream bars
If you are a fan of lemon bars, please give these a try.

If you are a fan of creamy, yummy goodness, please give these a try.

If you are a fan of...just try these, okay?  I was completely, pleasantly surprised when I made these bars for a barbecue a few weekends ago.  In charge of bringing a dessert, and I didn't know what I wanted to make, something different, something not chocolate, something just right for outdoor eating.  These were it.  I mean, I couldn't have chosen better. 

I personally like the combination of lemon and lime because the lemon calms down the extreme tartness of lime, and the lime adds a punch of tang to the mellow...yellow....lemon.

 Lemon Lime Dream Bars

Crust Ingredients
5 oz. Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 Tbl. Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
4 Tbl. butter, melted

Filling Ingredients
2 oz. softened cream cheese (I know this seems like a tiny amount, but it is correct)
1 Tbl. combination zest of lime and lemon (I just eyeballed this, used zest of 1 lime and 1-2 lemons)
1-14 oz. can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg
1/2 C. Fresh lemon and lime juice.  I juiced 1 lime and the rest of the 1/2 cup of juice was from lemons.  I would recommend having 3 lemons on hand.
Green or yellow food coloring if you prefer

Powdered Sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line an 8" x 8" pan with foil, using 2 pieces of overlapping foil with about 2" hanging over each side of the pan.  See the image above for a visual.  I like to cut two pieces of foil about 8" by 16" and then lay them cross-wise.   Spray with cooking spray.

To prepare your crust:  Combine the Graham Cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt together in a bowl.  Drizzle the melted butter over this combo and mix.  Press mixture into bottom and up a bit on the sides of  your prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes until crust is set.

To prepare your filling: While crust is cooking, in bowl of stand mixer using the beater attachment, combine your cream cheese, zest and salt and mix well.  While the mixer is on, drizzle in the sweetened condensed milk.  Once combined, add your egg and mix well.  And finally add your fresh lemon and lime juice.  Again, mix well.  If you want your bars to be a brighter, more citrusy color, you can add a few drops of green or yellow food coloring.  I actually like the natural look, so I did not do it.

Pour filling into the cooked crust. 

Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes until the filling is set and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool on counter until no longer hot and then in fridge until completely cool.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Cut into 16, 2" x 2" squares.  If you look at my picture above you'll see how I cut my bars, once cooled, I pull up on the overhanging flaps (make sure to pull on the bottom layer of foil), and remove the bars completely from the pan.  Place on cutting bored (still on top of foil).  Cut Straight down the middle and then on either side of the first cut.  This gives you 4 vertical rows.  Rotate the foil and repeat.  Cut straight down the middle and on either side.  This gives you 16 perfectly even squares of goodness.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Eat.  Then come back and eat more.

Thanks for reading!!


Shared here:
Anything Blue Friday
I should be mopping the floors

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Homemade Tarter Sauce...it's easier than you think!

Well, it's that time of year.  Fishing season.  The sleepy weekend mornings when The Mister takes the girls off somewhere for a little Daddy Daughter fishing at about 5 in the morning.  Waking me up in the process to help get them ready and on their way.  It's all good, I enjoy a productive morning...even on Sundays.  But, here's the thing right, if they go fishing, there's an actual chance they might bring something home.  Something they want to eat.  Something I will be required to cook.   So far it's been a very slim chance, but my family has high hopes of surprising me with a bounty of fish someday.

So, what's a wife and mother to do if this actually happens and she is not prepared because as of yet there has been practically zero fish brought in?

Make homemade tarter sauce.

 It's easy.  A cup of mayo, a dash of malt vinegar and a small squirt of yellow mustard.

Finely chop a few dill pickles and a spoonful of capers.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.

Serve with fish.  The Mister was in the throes of happiness with this tarter sauce.  He declared it to be the best he's ever eaten...ever!  I guess I am never allowed to bring home store-bought tarter sauce again.  Luckily it's so simple and quick that I won't mind throwing some together whenever we have fish...I'm not sure when that will be considering the current track record, but maybe someday.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

April inspired amigurumi....DONE!

The only girl Ninja Turtle needs a buddy.  How about the only other girl on the show TMNT.

May I present, April...


Cute messy buns!

An appliqued heart on her shirt...you know, for added "girlyness".

Best friends, just taking a moment to relax.

Notice the difference in their sizes.  This is what happens when you use a different gauge yarn.  For my April doll I used Caron Simply Soft yarn.  For Nightingale, not....but I liked the color.

Options with her hair!  Some days a girl might want braids instead of buns.

The back.  Love how her hair turned out.

Hope you like my ninja warrior ladies.  Can't wait for the big reveal in a few weeks!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Short Pants alterations

The Mister isn't exactly what I would call a fan of capris, but I am.  So unfortunately for him, I wear them happily all summer.  I have a pair though, that I did not love.  They hit me in exactly the wrong spot.  Not long or short enough.  So, I am taking a deep breath and taking full body shots...for the second time THIS YEAR!  What in heaven's name has gotten into me.

The leg on the left has the hem where it originally was.  The leg on the right is where I decided I wanted the hem to be.  The problem was, they hit me at the widest spot of my calf.  This caused my legs to look larger and it made my body look squatter.  Bad.  Very bad.

So, I decided on making them into longish Bermuda Shorts.  Scissors and hem thingamabobber in hand, I went to work.

The original hem.  3 buttons right in the way.  I decided to leave the very top button.

When measuring, I found it helpful to line up the outside and inside seams and pin there.  This ensured that I wouldn't sew it wonky.

Pin every couple of inches or so.  Measuring and pin all the way around.  As you can see, in case I didn't like the results, I did not cut my pants before sewing them.

I did a double row of stitching using black thread to match.  Saddest thing ever, I was sewing using an extremely short stitch length due to some paper piecing I had been doing the day before...there is no way I am unpicking this now!!

Well, I like how they turned out and I used an extremely small stitch, we are sticking with what we've got!  I don't have a serger...time for the pinking shears!

Pink around the seam allowance, I left about an inch, and use a hem stitch to keep your hem from falling.

And ta-daaaa!  New pants and I like where they hit me much better than before.  Don't be afraid to take some initiative and alter your clothes.  If you're not happy, see what will make you happy...and if you completely ruin something....well, I guess you learned a valuable lesson on what not to do.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits, from scratch

Get ready for the good stuff.  Because, all I am saying is that cheddar cheese, jalapenos and fluffy homemade biscuits can't be wrong.

cheddar jalapeno biscuit recipe 
I am re-posting this recipe for cheddar jalapeno biscuits that I originally posted about on a cold day when I made chili and these as a dipper. They are a must, so good.  The fun thing about them, is they use sour cream instead of the normal amount of butter!!!  I adapted them from Smitten Kitchen's recipe and they are simple, use wholesome ingredients and whip up quickly. 

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
2 Tbl. cold butter, cut into small cubes
A nice sized pile of shredded cheddar....I would guess a little over 1 cup....but this isn't vital to measure, just shred some and if it looks like enough, toss it in.
Several pickled jalapenos, chopped into small pieces...again, just go with the amount you think looks tasty.  I probably used 8 pepper slices.
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the butter.  I just used my fingers and mushed the butter until it was well-combined throughout the flour mixture. Add the cheddar, stir so all the cheese is covered by the flour mix.  Add the jalapenos and stir them as well.  Add the sour cream and mix until it forms a wet  dough (my sour cream must have been seriously cold, because it had a hard time incorporating, I just put down the spoon and used my hand to combine and it worked great.  Try not to over work it).

Dump the dough onto a floured counter top and using your hands, just pat it down so it's about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Using a cup that looks like the size you want, cut out as many biscuits as you can get...plus, use the scraps...even if they're oddly shaped they will bake up just as tasty.

Bake for about 15 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, until the tops are golden brown and delicious looking.


Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Magical Tuacahn

Imagine the most amazing theater you've ever been to. 

Got it...

Nope, don't mean to be a snoot, but it's not as amazing as my theater. 

Located near St. George, Utah is Tuacahn.  An outdoor theater that is smack in the middle of a canyon in beautiful red rock country. We watched Mary Poppins and they did such a great job.  I am in no way affiliated with Tuacahn, I just really, really like the place.  Can you blame me?  I love this picture of My Youngest, walking towards the show with her Great Grandma Evelyn.  This little girls loves her Great Grandmother so much.  I've never seen a child so enamored.  Great Grandma Evelyn is the beyond all for her.  Love.

Two little girls really excited to watch the show.

Mama says:  "Hug each other, try to look like you are sisters."

Urrrgggh....gurgle....choke.  Guess that's about right.  And yes, my kids do match their surroundings.  If they ever need to do urban camouflage...this is where I am sending them.  You'll never find em...unless they want to be found.

If you ever find yourself in Southern Utah, or even Las Vegas (they're only a bit over an hour away from Sin City) in the blazing heat of summer, see if you can't get yourself to a show here.  You won't regret it.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chicken snack hunting.

The chickies need snacks, don't you know.  And what do they love more than anything...ummmm...if you ask My Youngest it is assorted leaves plucked from all the trees she can get her mits on.

Unnnggghhh!  Too high!

New plan.  Different tree.

Oh yes, scrumptious morsels for the babies....you might notice the latest in farmer attire.  Slippers.

Tasty snack for the chickies!!!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nightingale's best friend. Amigurumi fun.

So...My Youngest loves TMNT.  So much so that I thought it would be fun to make her a girl ninja turtle, inspired by the real TMNT.  That's Nightingale.  She almost can't be beat...so darn cute.  But, in talking with my daughter, turns out she really likes the girl, on TMNT.  The girl...The human girl.  In the show her name is April.  Well, I've got to draw some inspiration from the show to make her now...don't I!

Turning out so cute.  A bit bald.  Adorable.  She will have hair.  It's coming.  Soon.  I think.  Stay tuned.

In the cartoon, April doesn't actually wear a pink skirt...unless she does and I just haven't seen that episode, but if you ask My Youngest, she'll tell you there is only one color worth wearing.  It's pink, in case you couldn't figure it out on your own.

She's got cute knees.

This is what best friends do...they are always there to lend a hand.  tehehehehe

Thanks for reading!

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